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“She just likes giving me shit,” said Damon, who stars in the upcoming drama Stillwater. “She’s playfully hard on me. She doesn’t go to see my movies on purpose, the ones she thinks might be good. She crushes me on the ones that don’t work.”
One of those films was the 2016 flop The Great Wall, which Damon confessed he knew was doomed when he learned that iconic Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou was bowing to pressure from Hollywood backers, thereby sacrificing his vision.
“I was like, this is exactly how disasters happen,” the actor told Maron. “It doesn’t cohere. It doesn’t work as a movie.”
Damon was also beaten up in the press for what was perceived as cultural appropriation and for making the film, which seemed like it was solely done for overseas dollars. Damon said that was not the case, nor did he see it as cultural appropriation.
“I saw the movie as the exact same plot as Lawrence of Arabia, Dances With Wolves [and] Avatar,” he said. “It’s an outsider comes into a new culture, finds value in the culture, brings some skill from the outside that aids them in their fight against whatever and they’re all changed forever.”
Still, the film was a dud. “And my daughter knows it,” he says. “Whenever she talks about the movie, she calls it ‘The Wall.’ And I’m like, come on, it’s called The Great Wall. And she’s like, ‘Dad, there’s nothing great about that movie.’ She’s one of the funniest people I know.”
Damon told Maron there is nothing worse than being in a production with the realization that the final product won’t be a success.
“I came to consider that the definition of a professional actor; knowing you’re in a turkey and going, ‘OK, I’ve got four more months. It’s the up at dawn siege on Hamburger Hill. I am definitely going to die here, but I’m doing it,'” he said. “That’s as shitty as you can feel creatively, I think. I hope to never have that feeling again.”
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